Everywhere I turn I see an adult child still dependent on her parents. And the parent just can’t figure out why his child refuses to grow up.
The parent shakes his head and wonders what it’s going to take for his child to gain some independence.
From the outside it’s easy for everyone to see just how these children are being enabled. Yet, the parents doing the enabling are oblivious.
If you feel like your child is never going to spread his wings and face the world alone these could be the reasons why.
Here are five ways you’re enabling your adult children.
# 1 – Providing Them Housing
There are certain times when it’s perfectly fine to provide housing to your adult children. Like when they’re going through school or aggressively saving for a down payment for their own house. (You can still charge rent though.)
But providing free housing (or paying rent) for an adult child who refuses to grow up and get a job is simply enabling.
You’re not doing your kids any favor. Let them try to go out and get a place on their own. They’ll get a taste of the real world and gain a sense of appreciation for all you’ve done.
# 2- Co-Signing on Loans You KNOW Won’t be Paid
I don’t know why parents do this.
I’ve seen this happen in my family a bit too much. A car breaks down. An adult child is desperate to buy their own house but has horrible credit.
The parent feels sorry for their child and cosigns on a loan – even though they’re about 99 percent positive that they’ll be stuck forking over the payments.
Prime example of enabling. Don’t do it.
# 3 – Purchasing Cars
How many cars has your child went through?
I can understand buying or helping your child buy their first car, but everything after that should be your adult child’s responsibility.
You do not owe it to your son or daughter to purchase them a new car every time they blow up the previous one you bought them.
Let them feel the pain of purchasing a car themselves. I bet it will last a lot longer too!
# 4 – Handing Out Money
If you feel like an ATM machine rather than a parent then you’re probably enabling your kids.
At some point the handouts need to stop. While there’s nothing wrong in wanting to help your kids financially they won’t be able to learn responsibility until they’re forced to fend for themselves.
# 5 – Purchasing Them Expensive Gifts
A new cellphone, a laptop, and I-Pad, designer clothes……expensive gifts.
I know what it’s like to want to buy everything for your kids – I have two of my own. Unfortunately, acting on these urges can bring a sense of self entitlement to kids.
Stop the self-entitlement and make your children work for what they want. They’ll enjoy these items so much more when they’ve had to sacrifice to get them.
# 6 – Providing Get Out of Jail Free Cards
My heartaches for the parents who have to witness their children in and out of trouble.
I know it must be hard to not want to help your child get out of trouble every time something comes up. The problem though, is that when a child knows that their parents will always be there to bail them out, the consequences of their actions aren’t enough.
As a parent of two little girls I know that not giving in to your child’s wants is tough. You want your kids to succeed, find happiness, and grow up to be great people. Unfortunately, the help you think you’re giving can really be hindering your child’s chance at success.
If you want your child to gain a sense of independence you have to give her a chance to taste the real world.
What type of enabling behavior have you witnessed?
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.